In this incisive new monograph one of Britain's most eminent philosophers explores the often overlooked tension between voluntariness and involuntariness in human cognition. He seeks to counter the widespread tendency for analytic epistemology to be dominated by the concept of belief.
Is scientific knowledge properly conceived as being embodied, at its best, in a passive feeling of belief or in an active policy of acceptance? Should a jury's verdict declare what its members involuntarily believe or what they voluntarily accept? And should statements and assertions be presumed to express what their authors believe or what they accept? Does such a distinction between belief and acceptance help to resolve the paradoxes of self-deception and akrasia? Must people be taken to believe everything entailed by what they believe, or merely to accept everything entailed by what they accept?
Through a systematic examination of these problems, the author sheds new light on issues of crucial importance in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science.
`his book contains a wealth of insights and onyone with an interest in epistemology and action theory has much to gain by a careful study of Cohen's arguments.'
Anne Bezuidenhout, The Review of Metaphysics
`The general shape of Cohen's project is attractive ... much of what he has to say on individual issues is provocative and/or illuminating ... this lively and clearly written book is well worth reading by anyone concerned with these issues.'
Jane Heal, Times Literary Supplement
`An important, wide-ranging, and remarkably accessible book: highly recommended for all academic libraries.'
'This sincere and thoughtful essay will appeal to many concerned wih human behaviour, psychologists, cognitive scientists, the legal profession, as well as philosophers.'
Explorations in Knowledge
'short but densely packed, wide-ranging, ambitious work ... His book deserves to be widely discussed.'
Colin Radford, Keynes College, The University, Canterbury, Mind, Vol. 104, No. 413, January 1995
`Cohen's book is well written and well organized, with particularly useful chapter summaries. It contains interesting, worthwhile, and wideranging discussion.'
The Philosophical Review
What is the difference?; Purposive explanation; What cognitive state does indicative speech express?; Does knowledge imply belief or acceptance?; Self-deceit and the Socratic paradox